In partnership with the NFL and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), the Rams hosted a flag football kit unboxing for student-athletes from Morningside High School and representatives from Crozier Middle School, Frank D. Parent K-8 School, Inglewood High School, La Tijera K-8 Academy and Woodworth-Monroe K-8 Academy. The Rams, NFL, RCX Sports and USA Football provided 16 flag football kits to Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD).
"We wanted to make today more than just a moment but an opportunity to inspire the youth to use the power of football to understand how many pathways it unlocks by sharing the stories. We also provided the flag kits so they can execute their own flag football league," said Rams Director of Social Justice and Football Development Johnathan Franklin. "At the Rams, we want to be the greatest resource and the best community partner. To partner with the NFL, Reigning Champions and USA Football and provide all the equipment that the school needs to execute and have access to the game, we want to step up and be a resource for this district."
The event started with a panel discussion featuring Rams Legend Steven Jackson and World Games Flag Football Athletes, including Team USA's Vanita Krouch and Darrell Doucette, Team Mexico's Diana Flores and Carlos Espinoza and Team Panama's Andrea Castillo. The panel discussion highlighted the success of the World Games and inspired the next generation of athletes to participate in flag football.
"This is such a great sport for multiple ages, genders, and sizes. It has been incredible to see the journey of flag football," said Team USA's Vanita Krouch. "I used to question, 'is this real, is it something that I can do?' The answer is yes. You can now play it in college and in the world games. It is no longer just for men, but for women and young girls too."
Following the panel discussion, Morningside's League of Champions Girls Flag Football team had the opportunity to run drills with the panelists.
"Not only did the student-athletes gain experience from world-class athletes and talk about goals and how to achieve them, but they also received new gear from the NFL and LA Rams," said Rams Legend Steven Jackson. "As we break into gear and talk about X's and O's, we also must remember to talk about spending time with one another and being driven to success."
Student-athlete and member of Morningside's girls flag football team, Patrice Sunshine Williams, spoke about the significance of the donation and her takeaways from the panel discussion.
"They donated new flags, towels and shirts, and actual training gear. As you can see, we were using our basketball gear to train for flag football. I love how they donated new stuff, and it will be put to good use," said Williams. "I also did not know that flag football was becoming an international sport, and for me, I love it, because I love every sport. I am from Panama myself and knowing flag football is played there makes me excited to rep my country. If I do make it into the big leagues, I know I can rep my flag too."
Williams also wanted to leave words of encouragement for other students considering joining a team or playing a new sport.
"For everyone, you always want to try something new and different. Do not ever say I cannot do that, or I have never tried something before. Do not say you cannot do something, but say you can do it, try it out. Life is all about trying new things."
Last season, the Rams and Chargers launched the Los Angeles League of Champions Girls Flag Football program. The Rams and Chargers co-sponsored eight high school teams and provided uniforms (courtesy of Nike), stipends for coaches, coaching manuals, officials, athletic trainers, equipment, and transportation for the five-week season. The Los Angeles League of Champions Girls Flag Football program creates more opportunities for young women to engage in football, with the goal of eventually sanctioning girls high school flag at the state level. To officially kick off the league, the Rams and Chargers hosted a jersey unveiling at SoFi Stadium.
The Los Angeles League of Champions Girls Flag Football program launched with 96 players. This season, the league has grown to 16 teams with more than 320 athletes participating. The second season of the Los Angeles League of Champions Girls Flag Football program will begin in October 2022.
To learn more about Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community/.